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How do your habits compare to Stephen Kings?

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How do your habits compare to Stephen Kings?

Nobody is going to “give” you time. You have to take time.. We all have busy lives. I know, you probably don't have time to be healthy, I totally get it. I suspect in January most of you will make a commitment to having a healthier 2018. Maybe the same commitment you made in 2017?

I argue that it's more important to focus on making time for health than finding the optimal diet plan or exercise progressions. Without time, you will be unable to stay consistent.

Precision Nutrition use the phrase 'Time is an appointment with you.' By prioritising an area of your life, you create space for things to happen.

What would happen if you said the following:

I have...

No time for my kids.

No time to eat.

No time to socialise

No time to go to the dentist

No time to take medication

No time to dress properly

No time to wash

No time to take the dogs for a walk

I know some of these seem ridiculous, maybe because you do them without thinking. You've committed them to habit because you've practiced them for years. Plus if you left a dog in doors 7 days a week it would be classed as maltreatment!

The truth is that health has a will eventually force you to make time. It happened to me when I developed severe stomach issues in my 20's. A friend who helps organise income protection and life insurance mentioned to me that her job frequently brings home the reality of people prioritising other things than health, namely when individuals and families need to call on their life insurance or income protection.

Creativity and inspiration happen through purposeful practice.

I remember hearing that Stephen King approaches his writing like a job. King states that writing is “not any different than a bedtime routine. Do you go to bed a different way every night?”

“I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning,” he explained. “I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.”

Here's the routine of Japanese author Murakami:

"When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4:00 am and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10km or swim for 1500m (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9:00 pm. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity."

Inspiration for these artistic powerhouses doesn’t happen by chance. They create an environment of productivity, time + structure.

I used to work with musicians and a particular group I worked with, a young band from Birmingham, developed a common problem that lack of structure breeds.

Everything was going great, they were doing their A-Levels, they wrote loads of great material every evening, and they soon started attracting attention. A label got interested and some money came their way - not much - but enough to let them concentrate on their music full time.

This opportunity didn't bring creative freedom, in fact, it became a creative road block.

They suddenly had ALL DAY to be creative, they didn't make time to be creative they thought it would just happen in their day. They sat around smoking, drinking tea, eating a few biscuits, sleeping in and turning up late. Eventually, the label turned to external talent to help them raise their game and write some good songs. Ultimately it didn't happen for them.

Similarly, after watching a documentary on the Beatles a few months back. I was awe struck by the fact that even with the chaos and intensity of their success each evening they made the time to write. No one can deny the quality of their catalogue.

For these artists creativity is their job.

For me health is my job.

For you it probably isn’t your job. But why should that matter?

Does that mean you can’t be healthy or creative? This was perhaps the experience of a labourer in a victorian work house. You do have some control over your time. Being truthful, can you say you are an expert a managing it? Have you tried focusing on using it more constructively?

I got pretty good at keeping healthy when I worked in an office. I made daily decisions to help me stay on track, I put in place habits that I keep to this day. It was really hard - particularly on days with back to back meetings or travel. I focused and created habits such as lunch time walks, or a 30 min training regime I could do at lunch. I knew where to get quality food and did regular stretches throughout the day.

Ok... one final example...

Imagine the following scenerio:

Person one “You know, I’m really disappointed with my guitar. I bought it a year ago and I thought I’d be able to play really well by now”

Person Two “How often do you practice?”

Person One: “Practice? I don’t really… well I did for 2 weeks and didn’t see any results so I figured I must be genetically tone deaf” I pick it up a few times a month though but it hurts the skin on my fingers so I put it down after 20 mins."

If health is not important to you, or you feel you've got it nailed, then this email isn't for you. If you do want to take charge of your health then it's important to be an active participant in that journey.

You need to schedule time to let it happen.

What you can do:

  • Relax about the process
  • See it as a journey
  • Get to know yourself
  • Take control in bite sized chunks
  • Take control one habit at a time
  • Seek help where you need it
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Don't expect miracles overnight

Follow a habit based approach to nutrition to support my clients. Building stronger habits leads to longer term outcomes.

Get in touch if you needs some help on this

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